Francestown landowners to appeal denied subdivision

  • Francestown Old Meeting House Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/2/2021 4:30:50 PM

Ron and Melissa Shattuck of Francestown are appealing the Francestown Planning Board’s rejection of a proposed subdivision at the corner of Stevens Road and the 2nd New Hampshire Turnpike. Their case goes before the state’s Housing Appeals Board on Wednesday.

The Planning Board rejected the subdivision proposal, which sought to create four residential lots along Stevens Road. The Shattucks own 36 acres at the intersection of the two roads and currently operate a horse riding arena on the land. They intended to give the four lots to their children, according to appeal documents.

The subdivision was denied on Jan. 5 and the Shattucks filed an appeal on Jan. 29. They were simultaneously seeking approval to operate the riding arena commercially, which the Planning Board granted with conditions on Feb. 9, according to town records. An earlier meeting that was scheduled to discuss the arena was canceled after the town discovered the virtual meeting’s link had been shared with a hacking group, Town Administrator Jamie Pike said. Additionally, the Shattucks were granted a building permit for a modular, two bedroom ranch at 3 Cross Road on Jan. 12, according to town records.

In their notice of decision, the Planning Board justified rejecting the subdivision because it didn’t conform to the town’s subdivision regulations, and was inconsistent with the intent and spirit of the town’s zoning ordinance, which is meant to protect the view shed and maintain the character of the neighborhood.

Specifically, the Board determined that the proposal didn’t provide for a sufficient vegetative buffer to maintain the view from Stevens Road, the schematic didn’t include building envelopes the Board had requested, and the plan didn’t sufficiently address erosion and sediment control mechanisms.

The Shattucks, who are represented by Meridian Land Consultants and Bielagus Law Offices, are arguing that their request did comply with the town’s subdivision regulations, and that the Planning Board is overreaching in their grounds for rejection. The appeal hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. and a link is available on the Housing Appeals Board website. An extensive record of public comment on the issue, with testimony for and against the application, is available on Francestown’s website.


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